It is interesting how important the bean is in our food chain, and I don’t mean jellybeans! For good nutrition and survival, man has had to lean on the bean. The bean is so important that even in biblical history, Esau gave up his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentils when he was starving. In the “Book of Daniel,” Daniel, a Jewish youth, defied the king of Babylon when he refused to eat the food from the king’s table and only wanted to eat vegetables, beans and water. The diet proved to be so successful that Daniel became an important person in the king’s court.

In the book, “Diet for a Small Plant,” the author, Frances Moore Lappe, relates that at least two-thirds of beans that are produced are sent throughout the world to feed livestock for the production of meat. Most of this meat winds up on our tables, hamburger joints and steakhouses. I recall, even in the “Mother Goose” nursery rhymes, the rhyme titled “Jack Sprat” states, “Jack Sprat…Could eat no fat…His wife could eat no lean…And so, betwixt them both, they licked the platter clean.” I’m sure that Jack Sprat did not have any meat on his tray, only a handful of vegetables and beans.

Beans are more than a musical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot! Yes, they are gassy, but you know how you can take care of that. You can add Beano to your diet, which is capable of removing excess bean sugar. You can also soak beans overnight in water before cooking. Beans have great healing power; they are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, potassium, iron, B vitamins and folate. Other advantages of eating beans are the lowering of cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, preventing heart disease and reducing breast and prostate cancers.

Beans are known as the healthy man’s meat. There are a host of bean varieties that can be eaten hot, cold or uncooked, such as butter beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans and black beans. Just search you supermarket shelves, which are filled with exotic beans from all over the world, and try new recipes.

I would suggest strongly that if you do not wish to be a “has bean,” load up your plate with more beans than meat, which will give you the same amount of protein and other nutrients.